Chossudovsky: The Next Phase of the Middle East War


Richard Moore

Original source URL:


The Next Phase of the Middle East War

by Michel Chossudovsky

September 4, 2006

Israel's war on Lebanon is an integral part of a US sponsored "military 

The war on Lebanon, which has resulted in countless atrocities including the 
destruction of  the nation's economy and civilian infrastructure, is  " a stage"
in a sequence of carefully planned military operations.

Lebanon constitutes 
strategic corridor between Israel and North-western Syria. The underlying 
objective of this war was the militarization of Lebanon, including the 
stationing of foreign troops, as a precondition for carrying out the next phase 
of a broader military agenda.

Formally under a UN mandate, the foreign troops to be stationed on Lebanese soil
on the immediate border with Syria, are largely although not exclusively from 
NATO countries. This military force mandated by the UN Security Council is by no
means neutral. It responds directly to US and Israeli interests.

Moreover, the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops, following the  February 2005 
assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has contributed to opening 
up a "new space". The withdrawal of Syrian troops served Israel. The timely 
pullout was of strategic significance, it certainly was a major factor in the 
timing and planning of the July 2006 IDF attacks on Lebanon.

In the aftermath of the Israeli bombings and the "ceasefire",  UN Security 
Council Resolution 1701, drafted by France and the US in close consultation with
the Israeli government, has paved the way for the militarization of Lebanon, 
under a bogus UN mandate.

The Next Phase of the Middle East War

Confirmed by official statements and military documents,  the US in close 
coordination with Britain and (and in consultation with its NATO partners),  is 
planning to launch a war directed against Iran and Syria. US Ambassador to the 
UN John Bolton has already initiated the draft of a UN Security Council 
resolution with a view to imposing sanctions on Tehran for its alleged 
(nonexistent) nuclear weapons program. Whether this resolution is adopted is not
the main issue. The US may decide to proceed in defiance of the Security 
Council, following a veto by Russia and/or China. The vote of France and 
Britain, among the permanent members has already been secured.

US military sources have confirmed that an aerial attack, pursuant to a 
sanctions regime on Iran, with or without UN approval, would involve a large 
scale deployment comparable to the US "shock and awe" bombing raids on Iraq in 
March 2003:

American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli 
attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening
days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq. Using the full force of operational 
B-2 stealth bombers, staging from Diego Garcia or flying direct from the United 
States, possibly supplemented by F-117 stealth fighters staging from al Udeid in
Qatar or some other location in theater, the two-dozen suspect nuclear sites 
would be targeted.

Military planners could tailor their target list to reflect the preferences of 
the Administration by having limited air strikes that would target only the most
crucial facilities ... or the United States could opt for a far more 
comprehensive set of strikes against a comprehensive range of WMD related 
targets, as well as conventional and unconventional forces that might be used to
counterattack against US forces in Iraq

(See at 

The aerial bombing plans have been fully operational ("in an advanced state of 
readiness") since June 2005. The various components of the military operation 
are firmly under US Command, coordinated by the Pentagon and US Strategic 
Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) at the 
<>Offutt Air Force base in 

In November 2004, US Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a "global 
strike plan" entitled "Global Lightning". The latter involved a simulated attack
using both conventional and nuclear weapons against a "fictitious enemy" [Iran].
Following the "Global Lightning" exercise, US Strategic Command declared "an 
advanced state of readiness".

The operational implementation of the Global Strike is called CONCEPT PLAN 
(CONPLAN) 8022. The latter is described as "an actual plan that the Navy and the
Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,'

The command structure of the operation is centralized and ultimately The 
Pentagon will decide on the sequence; " if and when" to launch military 
operations against Iran and Syria. Israeli military actions and those of other 
coalition partners including Turkey, would be carried out in close coordination 
with the Pentagon.

Ground War

While the threat of punitive aerial bombardments of Iran's nuclear facilities 
have been announced repeatedly by the Bush administration, recent developments 
suggest that an all out ground war is also under preparation.

CONPLAN constitutes only one component of the Middle East military agenda. 
CONPLAN 8022 does not contemplate a ground war. It posits "no boots on the 
ground", which was the initial assumption envisaged in relation to the proposed 
aerial attacks on Iran.

US and Israeli military planners are fully aware that the aerial "punitive 
bombings" will almost inevitably lead coalition forces into a ground war 
scenario in which they will have to confront Iranian and Syrian forces in the 

Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of 
ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel as well as against US military
facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, which would immediately 
lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out war.

Iranian troops could cross the Iran-Iraq border and confront coalition forces 
inside Iraq. Israeli troops and/or Special Forces could enter into Syria.

The foreign troops stationed in Lebanon under UN mandate would respond to the 
diktats of the US led coalition and the prior commitments reached with 
Washington and Tel Aviv in the context of the various military alliances 
(NATO-Israel, Turkey-Israel, GUUAM, etc).

War Games

These military preparations have also been marked, quite recently, by the 
conduct of war games.

In late 
Iran was involved in the conduct of war games in major regions of the country, 
including border areas with Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
Iran's Defense Minister General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has confirmed the 
deployment of enhanced military capabilities including weapons systems and 
troops on the Iranian border:  "[Iranian] forces are supervising all movements 
by trans-regional troops and their agents around the Iranian borders" 
(<>FARS news, 2 
September 2006)

Barely acknowledged by the Western media, military exercises organized by 
Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan under the Collective Security 
Treaty Organization, (CSTO) were also launched in late August. These war games, 
officially tagged as part of a counter terrorism program, were conducted in 
response to US-Israeli  military threats in the region including the planned 
attacks against Iran. 
Michel Chossudovsky, August 2006). In turn, China and Kazakhstan held concurrent
war games under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Azerbaijan and neighboring Georgia have close military ties to Washington. Both 
countries are part of GUUAM, a military alliance with the US and NATO.

is a close ally of Israel. Since 2005, Israel has deployed Special Forces in the
mountainous areas of Turkey bordering Iran and Syria with the collaboration of 
the Ankara government:  Pakistan is also a close ally of the US and Britain. 
Georgia has a longstanding military cooperation agreement with the US and 
Israel.  Meanwhile, the <>USS Enterprise, 
America's largest aircraft carrier is en route to the Persian Gulf.


Map; Copyright Eric Waddell, Global Research 2003

US Troop Build-up

US troops in Iraq have been increased to 140,000 as confirmed by recent Pentagon
statements (Reuters, 2 September 2006) These plans have been coupled with a the 
compulsory recall of "inactive servicemen" as well as the expansion of mercenary
Darius Namzaroaya, August 2006)

The Pentagon justifies the troop build-up as part of a "routine" process of 
replacement and rotation, required in its ongoing war against "terrorists" in 
Iraq. The speeding up of military recruitment is also occurring in the core 
countries of the Anglo-American coalition including 
<>Great Britain.  
<>Australia and 
(see also 
Canada).  Canada and Australia are aligned with the US. Australian Prime 
Minister John Howard as well as Canada's Steven Harper have confirmed their 
commitment to the US-Israeli war and have promised an expansion of the armed 
forces in their respective countries.

Meanwhile British troops stationed in Iraq have been redeployed to the Iranian 
border in southern Iraq. This redeployment has been casually presented by 
Britain's Ambassador to Iraq as part of a "crack down on smuggling and the 
entrance of weapons into Iraq from Iran".

While British officials are maintaining no desire or preparations for a conflict
with Iran, more British troops are being mobilized and deployed to Iraq at the 
same time. The Light Infantry of the 2nd Battalion, another unit with rapid 
deployment capabilities, is deploying to the southern Iraqi border with Iran. 
The 2nd Battalion is being sent to Iraq under the pretext of working in the Rear
Operations Battle Group which will provide escorts for military convoys and 
security for British forces and bases in Basra. (See 
Darius Namzaroaya, August 2006)

The Role of Israel

In the wake of the war on Lebanon. Israel's military plans and pronouncements 
are increasingly explicit. Tel Aviv has announced plans to wage a pre-emptive 
"full-scale war" against Iran and Syria, implying the deployment of both air and
ground force. These war plans are now said to at the top of the defense agenda:

"Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to 
Israeli political and military sources."


³The challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli defense agenda, 
higher than the Palestinian one,² said an Israeli defense source. Shortly before
the war in Lebanon Major-General Eliezer Shkedi, the commander of the air force,
was placed in charge of the ³Iranian front², a new position in the Israeli 
Defense Forces. His job will be to command any future strikes on Iran and 


In the past we prepared for a possible military strike against Iran¹s nuclear 
facilities,² said one insider, ³but Iran¹s growing confidence after the war in 
Lebanon means we have to prepare for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an
important player.²


As a result of the change in the defense priorities, the budget for the Israeli 
forces in the West Bank and Gaza is to be reduced." (Sunday Times, 3 September 

Media Disinformation

The Western media is beating the drums of war.

The Sunday Times views Israel's war plans as legitimate acts of self defense, to
prevent Tehran from launching an all out nuclear attack on Israel:   "Iran and 
Syria have ballistic missiles that can cover most of Israel, including Tel Aviv.
An emergency budget has now been assigned to building modern shelters."

The fact that Iran does not possess nuclear weapons capabilities as confirmed by
the IAEA report does not seem to be an issue for debate.

Media disinformation has contributed to creating an atmosphere of fear and 
intimidation. The announcement on August 10 by the British Home Office of a 
foiled large scale terror attack to simultaneously blow up as many as ten 
airplanes, conveys the impression that it is the Western World rather than the 
Middle East which is under attack.

Realities are twisted upside down. The disinformation campaign has gone into 
full gear. The British and US media are increasingly pointing towards  
"preemptive war" as an act of "self defense" against Al Qaeda and the State 
sponsors of terrorism, who are allegedly preparing a Second 911.

The underlying objective, through fear and intimidation, is ultimately to build 
public acceptance for the next stage of the Middle East "war on terrorism" which
is directed against Syria and Iran.

The antiwar movement has also been weakened.

While China and Russia will oppose the US led war at the diplomatic level as 
well as at the UN Security Council, Washington has secured the support of France
and Germany. While Russia and China have military cooperation agreements with 
Iran, they would most probably not would intervene militarily in favor of Iran.

NATO is broadly supportive of the US led military agenda. In February 2005, NATO
signed a military cooperation agreement with Israel.

Weapons against Iran

The use of tactical nuclear weapons by the US  and Israel against Iran, is 
contemplated, ironically in retaliation for Iran's nonexistent nuclear weapons 

The Bush administration's new nuclear doctrine contains specific "guidelines" 
which allow for "preemptive" nuclear strikes against "rogue enemies" which 
"possess" or are "developing" weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  (2001 Nuclear 
Posture Review (NPR) and 
for Joint Nuclear Operations (DJNO)).

CONPLAN 8022, referred to above, is 'the overall umbrella plan for sort of the 
pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.'

'It's specifically focused on these new types of threats -- Iran, North Korea --
proliferation and potentially terrorists too,' he said. 'There's nothing that 
says that they can't use CONPLAN 8022 in limited scenarios against Russian and 
Chinese targets.'(According to Hans Kristensen, of the Nuclear Information 
Project, quoted in Japanese economic News Wire, op cit)

The mission of JFCCSGS is to implement CONPLAN 8022, in other words to trigger a
nuclear war with Iran.

The Commander in Chief, namely George W. Bush would instruct the Secretary of 
Defense, who would then instruct the Joint Chiefs of staff to activate CONPLAN 

The use of nuclear weapons against Iran would be coordinated with Israel, which 
possesses a sophisticated nuclear arsenal.

The use of nuclear weapons by Israel or the US cannot be excluded, particularly 
in view of the fact that tactical nuclear weapons have now been reclassified  as
a variant of the conventional bunker buster bombs and are authorized for use in 
conventional war theaters. ("they are harmless to civilians because the 
explosion is underground").

In this regard, Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute a nuclear threat.

The World is at a Critical Crossroads

The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens 
the future of humanity. This is not an overstatement. If aerial bombardments 
were to be launched against Iran, they would trigger a ground war and the 
escalation of the conflict to a much broader region. Even in the case of  aerial
and missile using conventional warheads, the bombings would unleash a nuclear 
nightmare resulting from the spread of nuclear radiation following the 
destruction of Iran's nuclear energy facilities.

Throughout history, the structure of military alliances has played a crucial 
role in triggering major military conflicts. In contrast to the situation 
prevailing prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, America's ongoing military 
adventure is now firmly supported by the Franco-German alliance. Moreover, 
Israel is slated to play a direct role in this military operation.

NATO is firmly aligned with the Anglo-American-Israeli military axis, which also
includes Australia and Canada. In 2005, NATO signed a military cooperation 
agreement with Israel, and Israel has a longstanding bilateral military 
agreement with Turkey.

Iran has observer status in The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and is 
slated to become a full member of SCO. China and Russia have far-reaching 
military cooperation agreements with

China and Russia are firmly opposed to a US-led military operation in the 
diplomatic arena. While the US sponsored military plan threatens Russian and 
Chinese interests in Central Asia and the Caspian sea basin, it is unlikely that
they would intervene militarily on the side of Iran or Syria.

The planned attack on Iran must be understood in relation to the existing active
war theaters in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon-Palestine.

The conflict could easily spread from the Middle East to the Caspian sea basin. 
It could also involve the participation of Azerbaijan and Georgia, where US 
troops are stationed.

Military action against Iran and Syria would directly involve Israel's 
participation, which in turn would trigger a broader war throughout the Middle 
East, not to mention the further implosion in the Palestinian occupied 
territories. Turkey is closely associated with the proposed aerial attacks.

If the US-UK-Israeli war plans were to proceed, the broader Middle East- Central
Asian region would flare up, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the 
Afghan-Chinese border. At present, there are three distinct war theaters: 
Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine-Lebanon. An attack directed against Iran would 
serve to integrate these war theaters transforming the broader Middle East 
Central Asian region into an integrated war zone. (see map above)

In turn the US sponsored aerial bombardments directed against Iran could 
contribute to triggering  a ground war characterized by Iranian attacks directed
against coalition troops in Iraq. In turn, Israeli forces would enter into 

An attack on Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance movement inside 
Iraq. It would also put pressure on America's overstretched military 
capabilities and resources in both the Iraqi and Afghan war theaters.

In other words, the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia- Middle East region, 
the three existing war theaters in which America is currently, involved, the 
direct participation of Israel and Turkey, the structure of US sponsored 
military alliances, etc. raises the specter of a broader conflict.

The war against Iran is part of a longer term US military agenda which seeks to 
militarize the entire Caspian sea basin, eventually leading to the 
destabilization and conquest of the Russian Federation.

Pentagon's Second 911

The economic and political dislocations resulting from this military agenda are 

If the attacks directed against Iran and Syria were to proceed, martial law 
and/or a state of emergency could be declared in the US and possibly Britain on 
the pretext that the homeland is under attack by Iran sponsored terrorists. The 
purpose of these measures would essentially be to curb antiwar movement and 
provide legitimacy to an illegal war.

The Pentagon has intimated in this regard, in an official statement, that 
"another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to 
retaliate against some known targets [Iran and Syria]". In a timely statement, 
barely a few days following the onslaught of the bombing of Lebanon, Vice 
President Cheney reiterated his warning: "The enemy that struck on 9/11 is 
fractured and weakened, yet still lethal, still determined to hit us again" 
(Waterloo Courier, Iowa, 19 July 2006, italics added).

Reversing the Tide of War

The issues raised in this article do not necessarily imply that the war will 
take place.

What the analysis of official statments and military documents onfirms is that

a) the war is part of a political agenda and

b) military plans to launch an attack on Iran and Syria are "in an advanced 
stage of readiness".

The issue is not whether the war will inevitably take place but what are the 
instruments at our disposal which will enable us to shunt and ultimately disarm 
this global military agenda.

War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into 
supporting the rulers, who are "committed to their safety and well-being". 
Through media disinformation, war is given a humanitarian mandate.

The legitimacy of the war must be addressed. Antiwar sentiment alone does not 
disarm a military agenda. High ranking officials of the Bush administration, 
members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the authority to 
uphold an illegal war.

The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted 
including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions
and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda

There is a sense of urgency. In the weeks and months ahead, the antiwar movement
must act, consistently, and address a number of key issues.

1. The role of media disinformation in sustaining the military agenda is 

We will not succeed in our endeavours unless the propaganda apparatus is 
weakened and eventually dismantled. It is essential  to inform our fellow 
citizens on the causes and consequences of the US-led war, not to mention the 
extensive war crimes and atrocities which are routinely obfuscated by the media.
This is no easy task.  It requires an  effective counter-propaganda program 
which refutes mainstream media assertions.

It is essential that the relevant information and analysis reaches the broader 
public.   The Western media is controlled by a handful of powerful business 
syndicates. The media conglomerates which control network TV and the printed 
press must be challenged through cohesive actions which reveal the lies and 

2. There is opposition within the political establishment in the US as well as 
within the ranks of the Armed Forces.

While this opposition does not necessarily question to overall direction of US 
foreign policy, it is firmly opposed to military adventurism, including the use 
of nuclear weapons. These voices within the institutions of the State, the 
Military and the business establishment are important because they can be 
usefully channeled to discredit and ultimately dismantle the "war on terrorism" 
consensus.  The broadest possible alliance of political and social forces is, 
therefore, required to prevent a military adventure which in a very real sense 
threatens the future of humanity.

3. The structure of military alliances must be addressed. A timely shift in 
military alliances could potentially reverse the course of history.

Whereas France and Germany are broadly supportive of the US led war, there are 
strong voices in both countries as well as within the European Union, which 
firmly oppose the US led military agenda, both at the grassroots level as well 
within the political system itself.

It is essential that the commitments made by European heads of government and 
heads of state, to Washington be cancelled or nullified, through pressure 
exerted at the appropriate political levels. This applies, In particular, to the
unbending support of the Bush adminstration's military agenda by President 
Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The weakening of the system of alliances which commit Western Europe to 
supporting the Anglo-American military axis, could indeed contribute reverse the
tide. Washington would hesitate to wage a war on Iran without the support of 
France and Germany.

4. The holding of large antiwar rallies is important and essential. But in will 
not in itself reverse the tide of war unless it is accompanied by the 
development of a cohesive antiwar network.

What is required is a grass roots antiwar network, a mass movement at national 
and international levels, which challenges the legitimacy of the main military 
and political actors, as well as their corporate sponsors, and which would 
ultimately be instrumental in unseating those who rule in our name. The 
construction of this type of network will take time to develop. Initially it 
should focus of developing an antiwar stance within existing citizens' 
organizations (e.g. trade unions, community organizations, professional 
regroupings, student federations, municipal councils, etc.).

5. 9/11 plays a crucial and central role in the propaganda campaign.

The threat of an Al Qaeda "Attack on America" is being used profusely by the 
Bush administration and its indefectible British ally to galvanize public 
opinion in support of a global military agenda.  Revealing the lies behind 911 
would serve to undermine the legitimacy of the "war on terrorism". Without 911, 
the war criminals in high office do not have a leg to stand on. The entire 
national security construct collapses like a deck of cards. Known and 
documented, the "Islamic terror network" is a creation of the US intelligence 
apparatus. Several of the terror alerts were based on fake intelligence as 
revealed in the recent foiled "liquid bomb attack". There is evidence that the 
several of the terrorist "mass casualty events" which have resulted in civilian 
casualties were triggered by the military and/or intelligence services. The "war
on terrorism" is bogus. The 911 narrative as conveyed by the 911 Commission 
report is fabricated. The Bush administration is involved in acts of cover-up 
and complicity at the highest levels of government.


Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller 
<>"The Globalization of Poverty 
" published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the University 
of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. His most 
recent book is 
<>America¹s "War on 
Terrorism", Global Research, 2005.

To order Chossudovsky's book  
<>America's "War on 
Terrorism", click here

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to spreading 
the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please 
indicate the source and copyright note.

The following texts by Michel Chossudovsky provide detailed analysis of the US 
war plans:

Alliance": The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon  2006-08-06

War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil - 

Bombings could lead to Escalation of Middle East 
-  2006-07-15

the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? -  2006-02-22

Dangers of a Middle East Nuclear War - 2006-02-17

CH20060103&articleId=1714>Nuclear War against Iran - 2006-01-03

Bombings could lead to Escalation of Middle East War - 2006-07-15

Next Target of US Military Aggression -  2005-05-01

CH20050501&articleId=66>Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran - 2005-05-01

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

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